Monday, 15 September 2008

Fight Club: K-1 Taiwan GP on Eurosport - TV Review

For the second week in a row, Eurosport’s Fight Club has brought us K-1 action, and instead of taking in the Prize Fighter II boxing tournament, I decided to have a look at the Taiwan Grand Prix coverage instead.
The broadcast began with a super fight, Catalin Morosanu against Junichi Sawayashiki. These two went at it straight away, trading punches and kicks from the opening bell. It wasn’t long before the Romanian former rugby player soon got the upper hand, knocking Sawayashiki twice, before scoring the third knock down with a left hook to the temple. A good way to open the show, and a damn good performance from Morosanu, who was outclassed early but got the better of his opponent with his superior power.

Then, for some reason, it’s straight on to the tournament semi-finals, with Ruslan Karaev taking on the giant Young Hyun Kim. Proof that bigger isn’t always better. Karaev went to work straight away, and within the first twenty seconds knocked Kim flat on his back, breaking his nose in the process with a hard left. One knock down was all it took as the fight was called off afterwards.

Semi-final two sees replacement Vaughn Anderson against Alexander Pichkunov. A good fight this one. It started off slowly before Anderson stepped on the throttle a little. Pichkunov retaliated by upping his own game, getting the knockout victory with a left hook in the closing seconds of the first round, making it an all Russian affair in the final. A good effort from both fighters, which made for a very enjoyable fight.

Superfight#2 sees the legendary “Sugarfoot” Ray Sefo tackling Zabit Samedov. To say that this proverbial battle of the generations was close would be an understatement. This one looked even from the outset, and was probably the most entertaining fight of the show, with both fighters giving their all, showing tremendous amounts of skill, and putting in a bit of showboating too for good measure. In fact this fight was so close that the judges couldn’t separate them after the three rounds, so an extra round was called for, and after another three minutes, they still couldn’t separate them. So after a second extra round, in which both fighters were visibly tired, the judges were finally able to determine a winner in the form of Samedov. This may not have been as explosive as the other fights, but technically it was brilliant, and a joy to watch.

Then it’s on to the final, with Karaev facing Pichkunov. From the moment this fight began, Karaev looked the superior fighter. Pichkunov tried his best, but seemed to be on the back foot for the majority of the fight, his only moments of note being a couple of inadvertent low blows. Karaev finished his fellow Russian off towards the end of the first round with a barrage of shots, finishing off with a left that left Pichkunov on the canvas, his head propped up in the corner. Another impressive performance from Karaev, who is fast becoming one of my favourite K-1 fighters.

The final fight of the show is the third super fight, with Remy Bonjasky and Volt Atajev. The master that is Bonjasky was in control from the beginning. Atajev had a few moments, but these were few and far between as the Dutch master, technically brilliant as always, exerted his control in the first two rounds, with the end coming just into the third, with Bonjasky connecting with a flying right knee that send Atajev down, who failed to beat the ten count. A good way to end the show, although we had Sensei Will’s top ten knockouts to contend with as well.

In conclusion - a second enjoyable Fight Club show, but this has to be said. When are Eurosport going to stop messing around with K-1? It’s really annoying the way that they treat their fans here in Britain. Although the fights here were shown in full, we didn’t get any of the quarter-finals, the show began halfway through the card, and the captions giving us details on the fighters messed up almost immediately.

I would absolutely love it if Sky or Setanta got a hold of K-1 and started showing it properly, I really would. I bet even Nuts TV would do a better job of this. But I can’t see any other broadcaster in Britain taking a punt on K-1, despite it’s popularity here. So we’ll just have to put up with Eurosport, and if you haven’t got access to their high definition channel, you’re screwed, and you’ll have to get the shows on DVD instead.